This is a question that has more answers than times I get asked the question.

The pages were designed in greyscale so that once printed the design becomes sort of a background to all your lovely doodles, color coding, and planner-ing. Unfortunately there are sooo many printers. . . sooo many programs. . . on two or more different operating systems. . . that the combinations are really endless and printed results are extremely varied.

I have two programs for viewing PDFs, multiple graphic programs, and two printers currently saved to my Mac. I’ve had as many as 10 printers saved in the past, and they all have different settings. I’ve also been forced to print things from PCs, which have their own unique quirks. I’ve dabbled with printing from my  Kindle Fire. So I know the slings and arrows of this misfortune quite well.

Fortunately, being in grey scale, we don’t have to find the perfect shade of yellow or anything. (I have horror stories).

It’s just a matter of finding the right level of grey. (Or gray. I like grey better.) I’m going to show what to look for in your printer settings, and there will be a Part 2, if-all-else-fails,  Photoshop technique if you happen to be an Adobe wielder 

(or know somebody who knows somebody).

Click Here for the Part II Tutorial

First, In Case You Didn’t Know:

We’re specifically talking about how to print the planner pages in my “ Lady Jane the Grey” series of planner page downloads.

The “Classic Jane” pages for binders and ringed planners have two zip files included after you purchase, the lighter version and a darker version. This question came up enough in the beginning that I went ahead and added the darker versions. The “Skinny Jane’ pages for Midori’s and small planners were made later, and are all closer to the dark side. Not like, Sith Lord Darth Vader dark or anything. But darker. More like Anakin in the beginning of Episode 3. . . *

At the beginning of January 2016 I spent 2 and a half weeks cleaning up the entire skinny jane collection. Part of it was a shade alteration that is actually closer to the dark side than the light side of the page, and there is now one version available in the download. Hopefully this will help, but all this information is still relevant. 


Printing PDFs from Mac Preview

The printer I usually use for printing my pages is my little  Brother 4150(There is a newer version, the  Brother 8250. When my current one finally dies beyond repair I’ll likely just upgrade). 

Quick Tip: If you’re planning to do a lot of bulk printing of planner pages, it’s worth considering a small duplexing laser printer like this. Tonor (made of plastic powder) is a higher up-front cost, but in most cases it is significantly cheaper per-page than ink (rich lovely liquid dyes). I’m not saying run out and buy, just that it’s worth thinking about. Do some research and see if it’s for you.

Most of the time, no matter where you’re printing from and what your window looks like, you’re looking for the words “Color” and “Quality.” I’ve found that the settings that have the most effect on the “darkness” of the grey on my printer can be found in “Color Settings” when printing from Preview.



These aren’t necessarily the settings I use, they’re just the settings I change, when available. Try switching color modes, if that Contrast slider is available fiddle with that, and those little checkboxes have effect, too. It’s all a matter of experimenting here- so print one at a time until you get something you like.



The print settings have some effect, too, and here you’ll find the two magic words again, Color and Quality. Make sure your Quality setting isn’t on anything like “Draft.” Normal should do the trick. And again, switching the Color Mode sometimes helps.

(Mono in this case means Black & White)

(as in Monochromatic Friends)

I can’t find a “Can you keep a secret my monochromatic friend?” Penguin/Zebra Madagascar gif. . . so. . .


Back to printing, just to show you what’s available on a different printer, this is a screenshot from the same program as though I were going to print from a work computer.



Looking for the words “Color” and “Quality” again, and this is what I get. It’s all experimentation, here.


What It Looks Like In Acrobat

Same little personal printer, same page, same operating system, but try to print from Acrobat and it’s a whole new world. (I’ll spare you the Disney gif).



Don’t panic, though. We’re still looking for the “Color” and “Quality” words. In my case everything on this first screen has to do with size, copies, and direction of the print, besides the little “print in grayscale” checkbox. Which might do something. But in case it doesn’t, we’ll see what we’ve got in “Advanced.”


Color Management! All kinds of things to experiment with here. There’s a bit more technical jargon here, especially in the Color Profiles, but with a handy-dandy description box a bit of learning can be done. Plus some check boxes. These are the things that will have some effect on the darkness of your page.


When you get the perfect page that makes sweet choir voices rain down from the heavens, write down what you did! That way you aren’t guessing next time.

Also, most programs have some kind of “preset saving” option, so that next time printing your pages is just a matter of selecting the “Lady Jane Planner Page” setting and hitting go.

Seriously though, you should still write down what you did. In case you find yourself with a new computer or some kind of awful crash happens. That’s one reason we do what we do in the first place, right? 😉




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